7 Things American Travelers Need to Understand

If this is the first time you’ll be traveling overseas, you can expect a little of the unexpected. A big part of the fun of travel is what you learn and discover along the way. However, the fun stops pretty quickly when you step on cultural toes, break the law or end up in financial trouble because you were unaware of local customs or regulations. Here are 7 things every American needs to know before crossing the pond:

Bring-CashLjupco Smokovski / Shutterstock

1. Bring Cash

Of course, carrying a fat wallet might draw the wrong sort of attention. However, if you go to a foreign city or town expecting debit and credit services at local markets, you’re likely to be disappointed, and quite possibly hungry with no chance of buying food. Do your research in advance to find out how the locals pay for food and services.

Buy-the-GuideLanguage-Books-Before-You-ArriveDmytro Zinkevych / Shutterstock

2. Buy the Guide/Language Books Before You Arrive

Tourist oriented destinations might anticipate travelers stopping at local bookshops for maps, city guides and language translation books. Don’t presume this to be true of all places. Arriving prepared, especially with a book to help you be understood by others that don’t speak English, is priceless.

Local-Customs-Dont-Always-Make-Sense-but-Respect-Them-AnywaysCelig / Shutterstock

3. Local Customs Don’t Always Make Sense, but Respect Them Anyways

We might think it strange that pointing our feet at someone, chewing gum or taking someone’s picture without consent is highly offensive or disrespectful in certain cultures. Hand gestures like ‘OK’ or thumbs up are also considered provocative in some places. Because something doesn’t offend us doesn’t change the fact that it offends others. Try to be sensitive to local social culture and you’re more likely to have a positive experience while visiting the area.

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The Most Common Scams from Around the World

There’s nothing like traversing the world and exploring new countries and cultures, but sometimes the experience is spoiled by dishonorable people preying on uninformed travelers. If you make an effort to learn about the classic scams, you’re unlikely to fall victim to them and can just enjoy the positive side of your trip. To help, here’s a list of common scams around the world for you to get acquainted with.

How to Make Friends During Your Trip

One of the biggest fears of people who want to embark on a solo trip is being alone. They think meeting new people will be a struggle, and if they can’t find a partner to travel with, they just cancel or postpone their adventure. The truth is that with a little bit of planning and initiative, it’s actually harder to be alone than you think. The travel community is extremely welcoming and one doesn’t need to try hard to be part of it.

This Is the Fastest Way to Get through Customs

No one enjoys lines, and custom lines are some of the worst. The hundreds of confused flyers with paperwork in hand is daunting, but what if I told you that you can bypass that line for free – without paying for Global Entry? Whether you travel internationally 30 times a year or once a year, you’ll love the app. The Mobile Passport Control app speeds up the process of filling out and processing your U.S. immigration paperwork. This little-known app gets you your own line, away from the crowds, and lets you get to baggage claim that much quicker – likely before your baggage!